The very fine U.S. based tragicomic folk-pop troubadour Charles Latham is heading to the UK this month for series of dates from 18 November – 30 November, 2013. He also recently released a split 7″ picture disc with Scotland’s critically acclaimed Withered Hand and will be touring with them, as well as Brighton’s tweecore uke and brass band The Bobby McGees.
Charles managed to find some time to record a session for us which you can listen to below.
The tracks featured, in order of performance, are “Nite Man” (from Pretty Mouth – first album), “Whisky Morning Song” (from Beltline, second album), and “Dressed Up For Nothin'” (a mostly unreleased song). The first two are available on iTunes.
Charles Latham wields an acid tongue and a poison pen, crafting social criticism, tragicomic narratives, and brutal self-analysis into three and a half minute ramshackle folk-pop songs. His songs are often exercises in duality: he finds humor in horror and horror in humor, the profane in beauty and beauty in the profane. In a live performance, his audience often laughs and smiles, but he rarely does. His lo-fi home recordings compliment the harsh honesty of his lyrics; his guitar buzzes and rings, and his snarling voice leaps, cracks and cries. His music is as equally influenced by folk and country as it is by punk, British Invasion-era rock, and Brill Building-style pop.
Originally from Virginia, Charles Latham began playing music professionally while living in Brighton, England as a student. The UK’s folk-punk or “antifolk” scene adopted him as one of their own: Latham was the only non-British act to perform at the 2004 Winter Antifolk Fest in London. In 2005, Latham was voted “Best of Sussex” by a panel of judges at the Sussex Battle of the Bands, winning the grand prize.
After returning to the States, Charles Latham completed his first full-length album, “Pretty Mouth” in the spring of 2006; the album is a collection of home recordings captured on an 8-track in various locations in the UK and at his home in Virginia. The album was self-released, and has been met with enthusiastic acclaim in both the US and UK. Several songs from the album, including “Memorabilia” and “My Perfect Church”, have received frequent radio airplay; “Nice (to me)” was featured on NPR. “Boot Hill” is listed as one of the top “Songs of the Times” on Neil Young’s Living With War site. A non-album track, “The Internet Sexual Predator Talking Blues”, a song about the scandal surrounding ex-Congressman Mark Foley, was given 3.5 out of 5 stars by Pitchfork. “Hard On” has been covered extensively by contemporaries worldwide.
While living in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, Latham created Antifolk SouthEast, a loose collective of local folk-punk musicians, and co-produced the Antifolk SouthEast Winter Extravaganza 2007, a showcase of musicians in the collective, and the first festival of its kind in the area. The event was a success.
In the tradition of the wandering troubadour, Charles Latham moves frequently, and in the last ten years has lived in six different cities both in the U.S. and abroad. He has performed throughout the United States and United Kingdom, including major music festivals such as the Hopscotch Music Festival.
Latham, currently residing in Tennessee, continues to write, record, and perform.
Song, By Toad Session
Charles also recently performed a great video session for Song, By Toad which you can find here: http://songbytoad.com/2013/06/toadcast-272-charles-latham-toad-session/
HL006 – the second hangover lounge picture disc
The Old Queen’s Head
Horse and Groom
The Hangover Lounge (The Lexington, 96-98 Pentonville Road)
house show w/ Neil Pennycook of Meursault
Glad Cafe w/ Withered Hand [solo]
The Tunnels w/ Withered Hand [solo]